Grilling With Wood – How to Add Flavor to Your Meals

Grilling With Wood - How to Add Flavor to Your Meals

Grilling with wood is a great way to add a bit of extra flavor to your meals. The key is choosing the right kind of wood.


Charcoal, on the other hand, can be difficult to light unless it’s pre-soaked in lighter fluid. Plus, it can leave black powdery residue on your hands and clothes that are hard to clean off.

Choosing the Right Size

When grilling with wood, you need to choose the right size. Logs are large pieces of wood that take a long time to burn down, while wood chips are smaller pieces of wood that smolder for shorter periods of time.

In addition, you should also be aware of the type of wood you’re using and its flavor profile. Different types of wood will have distinct smoke flavors.

For instance, applewood is a good choice for smoking poultry and red meat because it imparts a light smoky flavor to the food. Birch is another popular option because it has a slightly fruity flavor that complements poultry and pork.

While choosing the right wood can be difficult, it’s a great way to add a unique dimension to your next cook. Just be sure to keep fire control, the quality of your meat, and the other ingredients in your meal under control and experiment with woods until you find one that you like.

Choosing the Right Wood

Grilling with wood adds an extra layer of flavor to food. However, it’s important to choose the right kind of wood before you begin.

Hard woods like mesquite, hickory, and oak are great choices for grilling. They produce less smoke (and smell much better) than soft woods.


Another good option is birch, which has a mild fruity flavor that goes well with fish and chicken.

Apple and cherry woods are also popular for grilling with wood, because of their light and sweet flavors. They work especially well with delicate foods, such as seafood and vegetable dishes, as well as white meats like poultry.

Other popular choices for grilling with wood include juniper, maple, and mesquite. Mesquite, for example, imparts a bold and distinctive flavor that’s best used sparingly. It also develops a rich, brown coloring when smoked or grilled. This makes it ideal for barbacoa and pork, but can make other foods taste a little overpowering.

Soaking the Chips

Soaking wood chips before grilling them is a common practice among barbecue pros. However, it’s a technique that can actually be counterproductive to your success, as soaking the chips can inhibit your smoker or grill from working properly and lead to uneven cook times and smoky flavors.

The only exception to this rule is when you’re smoking a large piece of meat, such as a prime rib roast or a whole brisket. You can use the soaking property to your advantage in this situation by placing two trays of your preferred flavored wood chip, one that’s been soaked and one that’s dry.

The wet wood will need to burn and smolder before it can produce smoke, so the initial smoky flavor you get from a soaked wood chip is steam. This can add to your time on the grill, especially when you’re attempting a long cook with a meat that will take all day.

Pitching the Chips

Wood chips are the key to adding that smoky flavor to your barbecue. They come in a variety of flavors and are easily sourced.


Before grilling with wood, it is important to determine which type of chip will best suit your food. For example, apple wood chips provide a subtle sweet flavor that is perfect for smoking fish or chicken.

Mesquite and hickory are also good choices for grilling. These chips have a robust smokier flavor that can be used to smoke pork and beef.

Many people soak their wood chips before grilling to keep them from catching fire on the grill. However, this only delays the smoking process. Soaking does not prevent your wood chips from catching fire and it can even make them taste worse! Therefore, it is a good idea to place them in a pouch before placing them on your grill. This way, they will not burn as quickly and you will still have a delicious smoke on your meat.